When we opened our doors fifteen months ago, we were flooded with notes of encouragement and beautiful floral arrangements (plus, our aunts even mailed a deep-dish pizza from Chicago!) - and a ton of questions about how we got started and what steps we took to open a brick-and-mortar. Since then, we've fielded questions almost weekly about our entrepreneurial path, often from aspiring entrepreneurs. While we don't have a one-size-fits-all handbook, we have read dozens of books that have inspired us to dream big, allowed us to adjust methods that weren't working, and encouraged us to keep pressing forward. Last fall, we mentioned to a few customers we were thinking of starting a business book club, and we were thrilled by their responses. Here's why we decided to finally go for it:
WE'LL DO THE DIRTY WORK: Starting a business, whether it's a mobile floral truck, childcare service, or skincare line, can be daunting. There are so many approaches to getting started, from reading business books and listening to podcasts to drafting a business plan and meeting with a financial adviser. It can feel overwhelming not knowing how or where to begin, so we're committing to finding the best books to help you get going - books that will motivate, inspire, and propel you. We know it can be challenging to fit another thing into your monthly commitments, so we'll take care of the book selection and will help facilitate productive, engaging conversation. No, reading one business book each month isn't going to launch your idea into orbit, though we can guarantee it will help.
SUPPORTING SMALL SHOPS: Before opening the store, we spent most of our entertainment dollars shopping with locally-owned retailers and dining at locally-owned restaurants, but now that we're running a small business, it's crucial to us that we spend all our entertainment dollars shopping small. (We found lots of great Christmas gifts at Glacier, Landella, The STEMcell Science Shop, Jenkins & Co., and Modern Cottage.) Our business book club will allow us to support other small businesses monthly, like the newly-opened Magic City Books, and bakeries like Antoinette Baking Co. and Bakeshop with our book club snacks. Hip, hip, hooray!
WE GET BY WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM OUR FRIENDS: Imagine this: You arrive at the very first book club, eager to figure out how to finally open your cheese and olive shop (someone please do this!) and there's a former accountant hoping to open a mini-restaurant who is needing direction on what kind of restaurant to open. The two of you start chatting, and a few months later, you've got a business partner (with a background in finance!) and the best Trou du Cru selection in Tulsa. You never know who you might meet while you're here - or what lessons and advice you may take away.
Behind the scenes, we are working on community partnerships and guest speakers for future meetings. If you have an idea for partnerships or speakers, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org (no "M").
Without further ado, we're excited to share our first book selection: Great by Choice by Jim Collins. While it isn't currently available at Magic City Books, it is available at the Tulsa-County Library as a hardback or as an audiobook. Our first meeting will take place on Thursday, January 25th, at 6PM at Merriment (3230 E. 15th Street); admission is $5 and can be paid at the door or in advance.
Truly, the best is yet to come! We look forward to sharing lessons we've learned, solving challenges you've faced, discussing the book selection, and spending an evening in your company.